What ever happened to David Lereah? Remember the resolutely optimistic chief economist of the U.S. National Association of Realtors? He was on TV so much during the housing boom that Fame Tracker ranked him ahead of SpongeBob Squarepants. (not really… But he was on TV a lot.) Anyway, today the WSJ catches up with “Baghdad Dave.” It’s not a pleasant story. After 7 years with the NAR in which he was constantly pressured to produce up-beat reports explaining why house prices really could rise forever, Lereah’s reputation is now in tatters. He has parted ways with the NAR, and finds himself saddled with an assortment of lousy investments, including a bunch of condos in various cities. But you’ve got to hand it to Lereah on one count: he may have been colossally, tragically wrong about the real estate market, but at least he believed the line he was selling and put his money where his mouth was. Now that money is gone, along with his professional credentials.
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